The classic symptoms of diabetes are polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst), polyphagia (increased hunger), and weight loss. Other symptoms that are commonly present at diagnosis include a history of blurred vision, itchiness, peripheral neuropathy, recurrent vaginal infections, and fatigue. Many people, however, have no symptoms during the first few years and are diagnosed on routine testing. A small number of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus can develop a hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (a condition of very high blood sugar associated with a decreased level of consciousness and low blood pressure).
Type 2 diabetes can occur at any age, but it most commonly begins in middle age or later. Signs and symptoms develop slowly over years. They include frequent urination (polyuria), excessive thirst (polydipsia), fatigue, blurred vision, tingling or loss of feeling in the hands and feet (diabetic neuropathy), sores that do not heal well, and weight loss. If blood sugar levels are not controlled through medication or diet, type 2 diabetes can cause long-lasting (chronic) health problems including heart disease and stroke; nerve damage; and damage to the kidneys, eyes, and other parts of the body.
Since cardiovascular disease is a serious complication associated with diabetes, some have recommended blood pressure levels below 130/80 mmHg. However, evidence supports less than or equal to somewhere between 140/90 mmHg to 160/100 mmHg; the only additional benefit found for blood pressure targets beneath this range was an isolated decrease in stroke risk, and this was accompanied by an increased risk of other serious adverse events. A 2016 review found potential harm to treating lower than 140 mmHg. Among medications that lower blood pressure, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) improve outcomes in those with DM while the similar medications angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) do not. Aspirin is also recommended for people with cardiovascular problems, however routine use of aspirin has not been found to improve outcomes in uncomplicated diabetes.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas loses its ability to make insulin because the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. No one knows exactly why this happens, but scientists think it has something to do with genes. But just getting the genes for diabetes isn't usually enough. A person probably would then have to be exposed to something else — like a virus — to get type 1 diabetes.
Family or personal history. Your risk increases if you have prediabetes — a precursor to type 2 diabetes — or if a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, has type 2 diabetes. You're also at greater risk if you had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy, if you delivered a very large baby or if you had an unexplained stillbirth.